How to Change a Watch Band: The Easy Way

AlphaShark - Navy & Orange Watch Strap

Your watch does more than tell time. There are memories attached to your watch, making it a sentimental piece worth treasuring.

But how do you ensure your cherished watch doesn’t lose its beauty and glory?

First, you’ll need to ward off a horde of enemies that are out to degrade the quality of your watch. These are moisture, dirt, UV radiation, and shocks, among others.

Second, you’ll need to replace the watch straps.

Why?

Affixing a new strap to a timepiece can ultimately change its feel and look.

However, this presents a new set of problems: Which tools do you need to change a watch band? And how do you even do it?

The good news is that the process is duck soup for anyone with the right skills and tools. And once you’ve mastered the basics, you can replace a watch strap to match your outfit or switch out an old strap that has seen better days.

And that’s exactly what we’ll cover today.

But first, let’s start with the tools you’ll need.

How to Change Watch Band Using the Right Tools and Equipment

Changing a watch strap is akin to performing surgery. You’ll need to prep the patient, use the proper tools, and work with care during the entire process.

The same goes for replacing your watch bands. Otherwise, you risk ruining the band and subjecting your ‘patient’ to unnecessary wear and tear.

There are a few key indicators to keep in mind, but having the right tools is in your best interest.

Spring Bar Tool

Technically, a spring bar tool looks much like a screwdriver. But unlike a screwdriver, it’s thin, long (5 inches), and has a forked end which helps remove spring bars and metal link hinges.

Seen below is an example of a Precision Spring Bar Tool available from our product catalog.

ALTEXT
Precision Spring Bar Tool

Microfiber Cloth

Once you have your workspace set, you’ll need a soft cloth or soft pad to lay your watch on. This reduces the chance of damaging your watch during strap replacement.

Besides acting as a shield, the soft pad also allows you to turn the watch for easy access to the spring bars and bands.

Now that we have our tools ready, let's get into the meat of the matter: how to change your watch band in four easy steps.

Step 1: Measure the Watch Strap Material

Note: This step should take just a few minutes of your time.

While watch strap materials vary, they all follow the same measuring technique. But in most cases, it’s the lug width that determines the size of your watch strap.

Remember, watches come in various sizes, and this affects the watch band's width. To work out the best watch strap size for your timepiece, you’ll need to measure the watch band’s width size. (Here’s an image below)

watch band’s width size

Note: The buckle side (short end) of the band is fastened to the 12 o’clock position of the watch head. The point side (long end) is attached to the 6 o’clock side.

Step 2: Use the Watch Strap Formula to Calculate Band Length

If you have a leather, canvas, bracelet, or nylon watch strap material, you can measure it with a ruler to determine the length. We also recommend using the formula below to calculate the watch strap length:

Wrist Size - Watch Head Size  = Watch Band Length

Calculating your wrist size is crucial, as it ensures you have the right-fitting watch. This way, you eliminate any chance of having an ill-fitting watch. Follow the steps below to measure your wrist size:

  • Wrap a tape measure or a small string (about 7 inches long) around your wrist.
  • Place a mark where the two ends meet and lay the string on a ruler to measure distance.
  • Find your watch head size. Most watches have an average length of 1″–1.5″. However, be sure to measure your wrist for precision and accuracy.
  • Once you have the measurements ready, use the watch strap formula above to calculate the watch band length.

Key Takeaway

Note: We design all watch straps in different lengths. Here’s a general overview of watch strap lengths based on wrist size for men:

Wrist Size Length (Inches)
Small 6.25″–6.90″
Medium 7.00″–7.90″
Long 8.00″–8.70″
Extra-long 8.75″–9.25″

Step 3: Removing the Old/Worn-Out Watch Bands

1. Place your timepiece face down on a soft pad or a microfiber cloth. Always work from the back. This way, no scratches will be visible on the watch face even if your hand slips.

timepiece face down

2. Next, insert the forked end of the spring bar tool between the strap and the lug hole. Push the device until it grabs the spring bar’s ridges.

insert the forked end of the spring bar

3. Using your dominant hand, apply steady downward pressure to compress the spring bar on the side. When this happens, one end of the strap disengages from the lug hole. Note: You can use your non-dominant hand to hold the watch in place.

dominant hand

4. Pull the entire strap from the spring bar, taking care not to damage your timepiece.

spring bar

5. Switch to the other side and follow the same process to remove the second strap and spring bar.

💡Tips: What are the Signs of an Ill-Fitting Watch?

This might seem like a pretty basic question, but the reality is that many watch lovers don’t know how to fit a watch correctly. More importantly, a good majority don’t know how to check for an ill-fitting watch. So if you see the signs below, it’s time to make some changes:

  • The watch leaves deep marks on your wrist. Issue: It’s too tight.
  • The lugs extend past the edges of your wrist. Issue: The watch is too big.
  • The lugs are 1cm away from the edges of your wrist. Issue: The watch is too small.
  • You can slip two fingers between the wrist and the strap. Issue: The strap size is too large.

If you’re having trouble identifying the various watch parts, check out the diagram in this explainer guide.

Step 4: Installing a New Band

To install your new watch band, follow the steps below:

  1. First, insert one spring bar into the replacement strap pieces, and reattach the spring bars between the lug holes.
    Note: Once you remove the spring bar, it expands and takes up more room than the area between the inside of the drilled lugs. That said, ensure you compress the spring bar to help fit them back perfectly between the lugs.
  2. Next, attach the spring bar end into the small holes in the drilled lugs. Again, you’ll need to visualize the lug’s hole position as it won’t be visible when you’re installing the replacement strap.
  3. If the spring bar doesn’t snap into the lug holes, rotate it around to “find” the lug hole.
  4. Once the spring bar is in place, listen for a click-like sound. This signals the other end of the spring bar is fully snapped into the lug hole.
  5. Repeat the steps above for the second spring bar and the other replacement strap.
  6. Once you’ve attached both bands, use a microfiber cloth and clean any dirt covering the watch head.

FAQs

  • Is it advisable to purchase spring-loaded spring bars?
    Yes. Ensure your two spring bars are spring-loaded. This allows for easy removal and installation when working with the spring bar tool.
  • Does the new band come with a watch case?
    No. But we recommend keeping your watch in a watch case to prevent moisture and dust buildup.
  • Are your watch straps spring-bar-free?
    Yes. But we also sell spring bars on a range of different measurements.

Step Out In Style

Changing your watch band is an art you should learn.

Don’t let the number of steps deter you from mastering the process. Once you master the basics, you can perform the procedure at home using the right gear and a steady hand.

Still wondering whether you need to wear a watch? Yes, you do, especially if you want to accessorize your look.

With different color variations, we’ve designed our watch bands using the highest quality possible. And, we’re running a promotion on select merchandise, so place your order today.

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Katrina McKinnon
Katrina McKinnon

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